Leading experts representing The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) have released new evidence-based recommendations regarding the benefits and risks of bedsharing for mother-infant pairs who have initiated breastfeeding and are in home settings. The new protocol is published in Breastfeeding Medicine, the official journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.
In "Bedsharing and Breastfeeding," Peter Blair and colleagues cite published evidence to support the overall conclusion that close nighttime proximity facilitates breastfeeding duration and exclusivity. Safe bedsharing is possible and the existing evidence does not support the conclusion that bedsharing among breastfeeding infants causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the absence of known hazards. Hazardous circumstances include sleeping with an adult on a sofa or armchair; sleeping next to an adult impaired by alcohol, medications, or illicit drugs; tobacco exposure; preterm birth; and never having initiated breastfeeding.
The protocol emphasizes that all parents should be educated on safe bedsharing, with the understanding that bedsharing is very common, and when bedsharing is unplanned, it carries a higher risk than planned bedsharing.
Arthur I. Eidelman, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine, states:
This is a most welcome balanced statement that emphasizes the positive value of safe bedsharing while properly delineating the clinical and environmental hazards that should be avoided."
"Having conversations about safe bedsharing is important for removing stigma around the topic and for facilitating open and honest dialogue between parents and providers," said Alison Stuebe, MD, president of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.
Blair, P.S., et al. (2020) Bedsharing and Breastfeeding: The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol #6, Revision 2019. Breastfeeding Medicine. doi.org/10.1089/bfm.2019.29144.psb.